By Harry Ballmann
Alt J: Relaxer
Alternative art-indie trio prove as enigmatic as ever, boasting a musical collective; surprising their audience with an array of sounds and instruments seems to be their motive. Giving this album a few listens fails to suppress the surprise found within it, hidden nuances lay at the back of the mix, subtle violin and synth characterise another off-beat album. Not wholly in love, Relaxer is certainly a more challenging listen compared to the summery beats of An Awesome Wave. However, songs like In Cold Blood still grasp Alt-J’s obvious indie intentions with gloomy guitar, fluctuating between palm-muting and powerful chord strums amongst a heavy orchestral influences.
Standout Track: In Cold Blood
Representing a seeming forty-year musical adventure, Pollinator is a culmination of Blondie’s unique sound. Recorded at the infamous New York recording studio Magic Shop, most notably a favourite of David Bowie and Lou Reed illustrates the magnitude of Blondie’s musical prowess. The almost juxtaposed, typical 80s keyboard alongside a punk guitar style with riot infused guitar solos makes for an interesting listen, with Debbie Harry, the band’s lead singer and co-writer praising the album as a “celebration of recycling”; Pollinator is certainly a reminiscent and nostalgic album reflecting Blondie’s numerous decades at the top of the industry, a rock and disco hybrid of easily accessible, fun loving music.
Standout Track: Love Level
Blink-182: California (Deluxe)
It would surprise me greatly if not everyone in their teenage years went through a pop-punk phase, loving the likes of Blink-182, All Time Low, Green Day and the like. As an almost forgotten band for me over the past five years, they have certainly come back fighting, with an entirely new direction. Indeed, California boasted a number one position in the UK chars, the first Blink-182 album to ever do so, but attempting to get past the unmelodic youthful vocals of Tom Delange is proving extremely difficult. For me at least, he characterised the Blink-182 sound, the one saving grace in the deluxe issue of California is Travis Barker stepping forward, contributing another distinctive voice along-side new lead singer, Alkaline Trio’s Mark Hoppus. Boasting a fun, bawdy and carefree sound, with an underlying mix of melancholia is certainly Blink-182’s talent, seeking to keep their hormonal teenage fan base. The deluxe issue of California’s standout track is Misery, a song which certainly has a new dynamic whilst maintains the remnants of the Blink-182 that was loved by so many.
Standout Track: Misery